Find Your Pause Today
Writing in your pathway journal about a memorable place, but more importantly significant moments from your life, is the time-out you deserve. My purpose here is give you a way to discover your voice through the simplicity of storytelling. Stories have a sacred dimension. When craft is combined with intuition, the defining moments of life give rise to your voice. Today pause in your core writing to learn the creative possibilities as a storyteller.
The Wilderness Project – visit a physical place, your favorite place in nature, a place of beauty and light, possibly by the lake or seaside, or a remote wilderness away from the familiar as though you are going on a retreat, a hike, or an adventure. You might choose to visit such a place in your imagination as well as a physical location.
For example, I cannot get on a plane today and walk the hills and hollows of my grandfather's farm that has been in the family for one hundred years. The memories of this place have become a sacred landscape in my core writing that takes me "home" though I've never lived in Olive Hill, Kentucky.
For students of my "Write Now!" course, this assignment gives you the opportunity to practice writing with the elements of storytelling – fiction or creative nonfiction. This exercise can open your creativity and help you apply what you learn in class - how to begin core writing in your pathway journal.
Part I of the Wilderness Writing Project
You should write a fully developed short story about this special place. Yes, write at least 4 or 5 pages double-spaced or continue writing as a longer work of nonfiction. A longer composition can help you master the features of storytelling. Using the pattern in this polished short story will help you apply these elements to any story you want to write.
After you've reworked your story, revisit the draft, reflect on these questions and write your responses as full paragraphs to the following:
Final Development for Class #4
Keep working on your development and revision.
The last paragraph of your story should:
I credit Dr. Rodney Frey, Professor of Ethnography at the University of Idaho for the Wilderness Project. I studied under his tutelage while earning an English degree in the late 1990s. You may learn more about this assignment in his book Stories That Make the World: Oral Literature of the Indian Peoples of the Inland Northwest.
National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30.
Start Planning Your Novel Now!
Keep in touch with me. For those participating in NaNoWriMo – let's plan to meet twice at the library during the month of November.
How do we know our subject is worthwhile?
By the ease with which words flow onto the page. If writing is difficult, you're not writing what's true for you.
When we care about our subject we find ourselves writing a true story – whether it's fiction or nonfiction. Its truth resonates within you and your reader.
"Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer." Barbara Kingsolver
Approach your writing with kindness to yourself and dedication to your craft. Remember, you improve your skill with practice. The joys, hardships, and challenges of disciplined writing will reward you with artistic prose. And the discovery that writing is an art form. Self-discovery through self-expression leads to universal truth and themes reflecting our culture and the human experience.